Honing journalistic skills in India
Name: Mereseini Marau
Course: BA (Hons) Journalism (Third year)
College: Kamala Nehru College, Delhi University
MERESEINI is unafraid to walk down the alleyways of a slum colony called Jain Dera at the Faridabad-Delhi border. Being a Fijian, bonding with daily wage labourers is no big deal. If not fluent in Hindi, she uses her secret weapon - expressive gestures to communicate with adults and children.
As part of her college documentary projects, for the past two months, she is busy filming families who have been subjected to three generations of bonded labour. She feels that more than her Indian counterparts, the slum families relate with her more. “I never refuse what these families offer me – be it water, chai, food. Today, I thank my mom for inculcating these values,” shares Mereseini Marau.
Studying journalism in India
Having a splendid 10 years experience in the field of journalism from politics to sports at Fiji, she opted to study in India to perceive how our robust media tackles the biggest democracy and other issues. She says, “I want to replicate the power of Indian media in my own country to expose scandals. The media back home is in a transition phase to fully exercise its role.” Reporting freely will take a good time in Fiji. Until then she plans to expand global knowledge to understand nuances of different stratified societies.
Two different worlds
She feels a big difference in the familiarisation process experienced inside the class and outside campus. “My classmates were very friendly - I nearly took 5-10 minutes explaining my background to each curious fellow in the class,” she shares. But what came as a shock was the mad rush inside buses and metros, as she is not used to seeing a huge public. The total number of population in her country is less than a million. “I had no choice. I started pushing my way into metros, buses or queues, something I don't do back home,” she adds. Language hurdle never came as a big load to her. She smiles, “I mostly resort to sign language or use very basic English to autowallahs to get me around the city.” Now, with bits and pieces of Hindi, she has managed to find her way anywhere in Delhi.
Study and expenses
Thankful for receiving an ICCR scholarship under its GCSS scheme, Mereseini feels that Indian education is very cheap. Her fee for a whole academic year is less than what she pays one paper or unit, back home! What she enjoys about her course work is that it gives critical understanding of mass media – film, TV, print and radio. Both academic inputs and real world experience help her grasp concepts well. She was actively involved in producing an informative radio programme on “Kutte Katne Ki Bimari” (Rabbies) for DU's Community Radio. Being content with ICCR scholarship allowance, she lives on rent with fellow Fijian friend few minutes away from her college. “Our families at times send us whatever little extra they have, that's when we are really desperate. We both share the expenses,” she shares. They also keep a good stock of materials brought by Fijian friends who travel back and forth (Fiji products like soap, lotion, T-Shirts, biscuits, noodles and tuna).
In the last two and half years, she has adjusted pretty well in India. If given a good opportunity, she is ready to contribute. Currently, Mereseini coordinates with Fiji High Commission, India and outsource news related to her country.